All models are comfortable and have an excellent driving position. The steering is sharp and makes even the entry-level diesel feel lively on a country road
You can get the Evoque with a range of petrol and diesel engines, and pretty much every one comes with an automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive for extra grip.
The exception to that rule is the most basic engine, the 150hp 2.0-litre eD4, which is the only one to come with two-wheel drive. Although it’s not all that quick – 0-62mph takes just over 11 seconds – it’s the the best all-rounder in the range. It’s fairly quiet at motorway speeds and doesn’t grumble too loudly when you accelerate. It’ll also emit just 113g/km of CO2 and return a claimed 65mpg – pretty impressive for an SUV – although you can expect closer to 50mpg in everyday use.
Pair the more powerful 180hp TD4 diesel engine with an automatic gearbox, and the Evoque accelerates from 0-62mph in a more spritely nine seconds. Unfortunately, the compromise for this added performance are CO2 emissions of as much as 134g/km and noticeably poorer fuel economy than the 150hp diesel. Land Rover claims it’ll return 55mpg but, in the real world, you can expect to see something in the high forties.
There’s also a more powerful 240hp SD4 engine, but you can apply all the arguments against the 180hp against this engine, too – only more so. With claimed fuel economy of below 50mpg, you can only expect low forties in everyday use, and the CO2 emissions are almost as high as on the petrol engines. Unless you just want the quickest diesel Evoque, there’s little reason to choose it.
The Evoque’s super sharp steering makes it feel a bit more like a jacked-up sports car than a traditional SUV
If you don’t want a diesel engine, there are a couple of Si4 petrol units available, with either 240 or 290hp, and both with four-wheel drive and a nine-speed automatic gearbox. They’re only available with higher trim levels, and while they’re the most powerful Evoques, they’re also the thirstiest. Neither has claimed fuel economy of more than 40mpg and the most powerful version emits up to 173g/km of CO2. The attraction is that you’ll be able to sprint from 0-62mph in less than seven seconds, but as these petrol engines only come with expensive trims, they’re not worth the extra cost unless you absolutely don’t want a diesel model.
The most basic diesel models come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but by far the majority of the range comes with a nine-speed automatic. The manual feels precise and mechanical – like it was designed for a hot hatch rather than a sophisticated SUV – but the automatic is far smoother and helps take the stress out of long-distance drives or rush-hour commutes. The only issue you might find is that the automatic can sometimes lurch as it struggles to decide which of the nine gears is the right one at any given moment.
If you’re keen to take your stylish new SUV off road, all models with an automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive come with at least the option of an All-Terrain Progress Control system. Effectively, this electronic trickery (which is standard with the SD4 and Si4 engines) is an off-road cruise control and means you don’t have to touch the pedals to safely get down slippery slopes. In this respect, the Evoque is superb – it’s by far the best compact SUV off-road and will carve through mud, gravel and even snow with impressive ease.
Thanks to its high driving position, the Evoque gives you a good view over the traffic ahead – helping you spot pedestrians and other obstructions easily – but it feels more like a small family car to drive than a tall SUV. It turns quickly and sharply without too much body roll, grips well through tight corners and does a good job of ironing out bumps around town.
Even with the largest 20-inch alloy wheels fitted, the Evoque cruises comfortably over rutted and poorly maintained roads. Admittedly, it isn’t quite as relaxing as the Mercedes GLC, but the Evoque’s supple suspension does a better job of softening jarring bumps than the stiffer setup in the BMW X3.
Unfortunately, the Evoque’s tiny rear windows make it a real pain to park. Parking sensors are fitted as standard, but they feel overly cautious at times – beeping piercingly when you still have acres of room behind.
What will inspire more confidence is the Evoque’s five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. Granted, this score was recorded in 2011, when the test was less stringent, but the Evoque will still make for a safe and secure family car. All Evoques come fitted with autonomous emergency braking, too – to help prevent low-speed collisions around town – and a lane departure warning system.